DACAmented on the Hilltop advances allies’ call to action


Students read aloud anonymous testimonies written by DACA students in Jones Auditorium.

The Trump administration announced the rescinding of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, last Tuesday.  The executive order by the Obama administration in 2012 granted protection against immediate deportation to nearly 800,000 undocumented youth who illegally came into the U.S. as minors.    

The announcement created palpable tension across campus for students and faculty. St. Edward’s University President George E. Martin addressed the campus community two days later in a statement signaling the university’s public support of the continuation of the DACA program and its partnership in advocacy efforts.

“I will make this position known to congressional representatives,” President Martin said in his statement.

On the same Thursday, organization America I Will hosted DACAmented on the Hilltop. 

Students and faculty gathered in Jones Auditorium to hear from legal aid, Victoria Rossi, and former DREAM act organizer and current St. Edward’s CAMP associate director of admission, Rocio Rangel, along with anonymous personal testimony from DACA students.

Three students from the audience delivered the anonymous testimonies that highlighted experiences while growing up undocumented, the personal impact of DACA, reactions to the rescinding of  the program and what they want others to know about its recipients. 

The testimonies gave the audience a personal perspective on DACA’s impact, especially when showing the impact on undocumented families.

“I felt ashamed of who I was and worst of all I blamed my parents,” said one testimony.  “Something I regret so deeply because I can imagine how much that must have hurt them.”

The testimonies also gave insight on a reason as to why many undocumented parents chose to come to the U.S. and not look back.

A second story detailed a student’s experience they learned they were undocumented when they asked to leave the country for a funeral.

“Going back meant not returning and she [my mother] did not want me to live somewhere I did not grow up in,” said the second testimony.

The testimonies went on to exemplify transformative effects of DACA in creating ambitious college students who aim to be or have become leaders across the nation.

Rossi took the podium to deliver information for DACA recipients on reapplication and what their rights entail moving forward.

Rossi also honed in on the benefits that DACA has provided, citing study abroad as one of many opportunities that will now be eliminated for recipients with the rescinding of the program. “It opened up the world for some people,” Rossi said.

Rossi offered more essential information for what’s next for DACA recipients, including October 5 as the last day that recipients have for renewal; meaning around 154,000 DACA recipients are eligible to renew, according to Rossi.

The event concluded with Rangel’s words on the vitality of taking action. Rangel referenced her personal incentives for action as the daughter of immigrants.

“That’s the personal fight, and that’s also what keeps me motivated,” Rangel said.

Rangel emphasized staying informed and attending campus events and protests as some of the key components of being an ally for Dreamers, a term used to describe undocumented students.

“Lean toward those who have less power,” said Rangel, “Where can I fit in that will make sure I am always on the side of the person who has less power?”